Sunday, 8 November 2020

Cover Reveal for His Hidden Wife



Just a quick post today as I have recently had the cover reveal for my next psychological thriller, HIS HIDDEN WIFE. My fourth thriller! How did that happen? It doesn't seem any time at all since my debut was published. Time certainly works in mysterious ways when it comes to writing books.

I actually think that seeing the cover for the first time is the most exciting part of the publishing process and I've been delighted with all of them. 

Every single one.

In fact, I'm still trying to decide which one is my favourite... maybe this one (but then I say that every time a new book comes out).

I'm really lucky because I've had the same cover designer for each of my novels. She uses a different colour combo for each and makes sure the 'motif' is strong: a pair of children's shoes, a pink hair band, black and white flowers and now a set of rings. Each giving a hint of what is to come in the book.

She also always uses the same font for the title and author name. This is so that when readers see it, they will, hopefully, recognise it as part of the Wendy Clarke 'brand'. Branding was mentioned a lot when I first signed with my publisher, Bookouture, but it's only now I have four books that I can definitely see what they mean. Don't they look lovely together... not that I'm biased or anything!

 

His Hidden Wife will be published by Bookouture on February 4th but you can pre-order it right now (only if you want to, of course!)

Amazon       Apple       Kobo       Google


Monday, 26 October 2020

Behind the Closed Doors of a Thriller Writer - Guest Post Sadie Ryan

This week, I welcome online friend and thriller writer, Sadie Ryan, to my blog. She's the author of Behind Closed Doors and When He Finds You. I've been asking her about her novels and writing process. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.


You’ve written two thrillers. Have you ever been tempted to write in a different genre?

I’m now writing crime thrillers/police procedurals. Before I was published I used to write romance and rom/com. Then I had a break of five years with my writing and when I came back to it, I kind of lost my mojo for romance. After going through a divorce, moving house five times in five years, I guess I became a little cynical about romance.  I have wondered about going back to it now, but when I do have a go they end up too dark! LOL. What does that say about me! 

 

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when the idea for your latest novel came to you?

The idea for When He Finds You came two me a couple of years ago, when Steve and I were out with friends for dinner and I overheard a conversation on the table behind me.


Can you describe it in one sentence?
 

You never know how far you will fall until you're pushed.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantster and how long does it take you to write your thrillers?

I’m definitely not a plotter.  If I’m left alone and didn’t have to work, I could write them in six weeks. Once I get going it’s full on. Sadly, I have a day job so I write in the evenings and weekends, sometimes into the early hours when it’s all flowing. So they usually take me three months.

 

Could you describe your typical writing day?

When I get back from work after dinner and a little R&R on the sofa, I go to my office around 9.30 and start writing. That can be flowing or gridlocked. I find a little chocolate and a G&T often helps nudge it along.

 

I’m sure my readers would love to hear about your road to publication. Was it long and winding or did you take a short cut?

God no, not so much as winding but meandering and certainly long. Ten years or so. When I started writing it was all by post. When I think about it now it was laborious, printing out the right demands for submissions, going to the post office and handing over a small fortune only to have it thump back on the door mat weeks later with a NO. Email submissions are so much easier on us and the trees. Two years ago, Ruby fiction took me on. I must admit, I was losing the faith by then.

 

Do you ever struggle to find inspiration?

I do, yes. But I don’t like to force it. I know it will come. Sometimes my books start in one direction then take a very different road of which I’m powerless to change. So have to go back to the beginning and make the right amendments to make it all fit. That’s the beauty of writing on a computer. The ease with which one can flick back and forth.

 

What aspects of the writing process do you find easiest and hardest?

I really enjoy the editing part the best. And the endings. I find the beginning the hardest to get right. I can’t move on until I’m happy with the beginning.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Walking. I love walking with my dog, Willow, although she’s not as keen as I am. She’s a little lazy. I enjoy gardening and find it relaxing tending my garden. Reading and listening to books is my other thing. I’ve always got an audio book on the go, in the car, when I’m cooking or cleaning and when I’m walking. Just plug my ear pods in and off I go. I just love books. I’ve loved them since I go into The Famous Five books at school.

 

What next for Sadie Ryan?

Book three with Ruby will be coming out in 2021 that’s a domestic noir, with a twist on strangers on a train by Patricia Highsmith.


Sadie Ryan is an author who loves animals and lives in leafy Cheshire in the North West of England. She has completed two psychological suspense/domestic noir novels. Her debut novel, Behind Closed Doors, was snapped up by publishers and published May 2019.   

Sadie's second novel WHEN HE FINDS YOU, came out in March 2020Book 3 will be out in 2021

You can buy Sadie's books here:

AMAZON      KOBO     NOOK     GOOGLE PLAY

Contact Sadie here:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Sorry Everyone!


This is an apology post. For being absent. For neglecting my blog. For neglecting you.

Although it will sound like a poor excuse, I feel I need to explain...

There was a time when I would post blog content once a week without fail but that was before my writing career took an upward turn (yay!). When I was writing stories for the magazines, which I loved doing by the way, I would write a story a week and how long it took me would vary. Sometimes, if it was a short story or one where the words flowed beautifully, I might complete it in a few hours. At other times, if I was struggling with an idea, it might take me three days before I wrote THE END. Either way, I had a lot of free time to do other things... including writing regular content for this blog.

Then my first novel, What She Saw, was accepted for publication and things changed.

Don't get me wrong, I love what I'm doing now (well most of the time!) and I do still get quieter periods when I can slow down a bit and catch up with things. What's different to before is these quieter times are not at regular intervals. I'll have a precious few weeks after I've handed a completed manuscript to my editor and the same again in between the many edits needed before it's ready to be published. Most of the year, though, I'll be working towards one deadline or another, and when this happens, all I can think about is my work in progress. The carpets go unhoovered, the washing piles up and interesting meals are a distant memory (thank goodness for the freezer). When at last I get that precious break, my poor little blog is at the very bottom of the list of things I need to do.

So how come I'm writing this post now? It's because I am in that beautiful place between line and copy edits. The carpets are clean, the washing is done and tonight's meal is... actually I haven't a clue as it's not my day to cook! Anyway, it's great to be writing on here again and I hope you haven't all deserted me as I have a cracking guest visiting my blog next week and I wouldn't want you to miss them.

It's been a bit of an odd year to say the least (for everyone, not just for me) but, overall, I've been very productive. During lockdown, I managed to write book four and complete two sets of rather difficult edits. If I'm honest, I did wonder at times whether I'd ever get them finished but I did and (despite a lot of hairpulling at the time) sending them off gave me a huge sense of achievement. It's a bit like having a baby... when it's all over you forget the pain. It's seems crazy that by next February I'll have had four psychological thrillers published... how did that happen?

Before I go, I just want to say I've seen the cover for Book 4 and I love it! I'm hoping I'll be able to show you it very soon but I have to go now as I have a very pressing appointment... with the reading book I put down at the beginning of the year!



Thursday, 3 September 2020

The Perfect Romance - Guest Post Mandy Baggot


It's always lovely to welcome guests onto my blog who I've met in real life as well as on social media. This week it's author Mandy Baggot's turn to take the hot seat and she'll be talking about her writing process and her new novel, A Perfect Paris Christmas which is out today!

 

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY, MANDY!


A Perfect Paris Christmas has just been published. How hard is it to write a Christmas book when the sun is shining and the birds are singing?

It is so so hard! I find it much harder to write Christmas in the nice weather than I do to write summer books in the autumn/winter. My deadlines have moved around a little bit recently though so I have been able to write slightly more in line with the seasons!


Could you describe your novel in a sentence?

Can two broken hearts heal in Paris at Christmas time?


Have you always wanted to write in the romantic comedy genre?

I have always written some form of romance since I was a child. All my stories have been based around that first flash of a connection and how that grows and develops. Comedy is part of who I am and so that has naturally come into my romance writing. I always think life is a perfect mix of love, life and laughs and that’s what I want my stories to reflect.


Are you a plotter or a pantster and how long did it take you to write A Perfect Paris Christmas?

I am a total pantster. When I submit the premise of my book to my publisher it’s quite vague because I really don’t exactly know what’s going to happen yet. My characters really do take me on the journey and I think if I planned everything out in the finest detail I would be bored writing it. The getting to know the characters as I write is the bit that I enjoy the most.

It takes me about 3-4 months to write a book. It was a challenge writing A Perfect Paris Christmas in lockdown with children being home schooled and a husband also working from home…


Are any of your characters ever based on real people?

No. You can never truly base characters on real people. But you can take traits you notice or things that happen in real life and weave them into stories. Actually though, Bo-Bo in A Perfect Paris Christmas was based on a dog in my little Greek village…


Most of your novels are set abroad. How has that come about?

I get asked this a lot. I write two books a year at the moment. One is a summer book usually set in Greece and the other a Christmas book usually set in either London, New York or Paris. I feel really comfortable writing about Greece as I have a house there and spend as much time in Corfu as I can. I provide the foreign escape people are craving, particularly during 2020 when travel was very difficult or non-existent for most people. I like exploring abroad and readers have come to expect me to take them on a trip somewhere that either they’ve been to and love or somewhere they’d like to go one day. My love stories are almost as much about the locations as they are about the characters.


Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve always written. I never thought I would make it a full-time job. It seemed to be an elite profession that ‘normal’ people would never be able to achieve. But now it is more accessible as a career than ever before. Starting out self-publishing definitely shaped my career in the best of ways. Success had to be achieved on my own – there was no editor, no proof-reader, just me - and I am really proud of how things have developed since those humble beginnings. Were those first books perfect? Of course not! But readers are still loving and enjoying them now. Growing on the job, thrusting my work out onto Amazon and trusting my instincts that the stories would be enjoyed has been the best thing for me. I truly appreciate every stage of publishing now.


Could you describe your typical writing day?

Every day starts with a school run and usually some exercise and then I get down to social media first. Real writing of words starts around 11am until 3pm with answering emails in between and doing the mum stuff of washing and housework too. The pick-up school run starts about 3.15pm and I don’t usually write again unless I am on a tight deadline or need to edit or answer more emails. I try and have the weekends off but that depends on deadlines or if I have a book promotion that needs shouting about. It’s a really full on job but I love it!


What is the best piece of advice would you give to an aspiring romantic fiction writer?

Always trust your own writing voice and never try to emulate anyone else. Seek inspiration be reading and reading some more but remember your own style and stick to it. Don’t be put off by negative feedback, take the positives from every criticism, because there will be positives there. Enjoy your writing, because if you’re not enjoying it then what’s the point?


What next for Mandy Baggot?

Well, I am deep into my next book (my 22nd novel!) for summer 2021. I can’t tell you what it’s called yet, but it is set in Greece…


Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer represented by Tanera Simons of The Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency.


Mandy is best-known for her laugh-out-loud romantic comedies featuring strong heroines, gorgeous heroes and always that happy-ever-after!

The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK's Festival of Romance, her novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy's books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian.

Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, wine, cheese, Netflix, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1's Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor.


Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Visit Mandy's website at www.mandybaggot.com or follow her on Twitter @mandybaggot, Instagram @mandybaggot and Facebook @mandybaggotauthor.

 

Buy A Perfect Paris Christmas:- https://amzn.to/2Ygmf9R


Thursday, 16 July 2020

Celebrating a BIG Milestone



I have some BIG news to celebrate. I hope you don't mind me shouting it from the rooftops but it is a huge milestone in my writing career. 

So what's happened

Well, today I heard from my publisher, Bookouture, that in the year since I published my first psychological thriller, What She Saw, my three thrillers have sold a total of 100K books. Yes, you read it right, a hundred thousand... I can hardly believe it either!

When I gave up writing short stories for the magazines, it was always going to be a risk. I'd had over three hundred stories published over the course of six years and become a regular writer for The People's Friend. It was a nice little earner. Whatever I'd thought, and I really did try, I found I couldn't write stories and novels alongside each other. I didn't have the time, but also, I didn't have enough head space to allow the ever-changing cast of characters that wandered through my short stories to co-exist with the ones in my thrillers - ones whose voices were louder and more insistent. 

So many things were going through my head when I made the decision to swap to novels: What if I couldn't do it? What if no agent or publisher liked what I'd written? What if the magazines no longer wanted my stories if my novels failed and I wanted to go back?

But I wanted the challenge. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it and the only way I could do that was by taking the plunge.

My journey from short story to novel has been documented in this blog, both the ups and downs and the highs and lows... and, yes, there have been many of both! It's been both exciting and terrifying and I couldn't have done it without faith. 

I'll be honest, there have been times when I wanted to give up, such as when the agent who plucked me out of the slush pile dropped me soon after, or when I had my first mean review. There have been great times as well, though: my debut winning the Flash500 Novel Competition for example or when I signed with Bookouture only a week after sending my novel to them. In fact, every time I hold a new novel in my hands for the first time, I want to burst with joy and pride.

This news today is the icing on the cake. When I took my first tentative steps along the novel-writing road, I imagined it would only be friends and family who might want to read my offerings.That a hundred thousand people (most of them strangers) have bought my psychological thrillers is humbling.

Mind you... my mum does have a large bookcase!





Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Just for the Thrill - Guest Post Ruth Heald



It's been a while since I've has a guest on my blog so I'm particularly delighted that today I'm welcoming fellow Bookouture author, Ruth Heald, to the hot seat! Ruth's latest novel, I know Your Secret, was published last week and I've been dying to ask her a few questions about her writing. Here are her replies.

Have you always wanted to write in the psychological thriller genre?

For a long time I didn’t think about genre at all and just wrote books on themes or questions I was interested in. But I’d always read and loved psychological thrillers and I wanted to write something that would find an audience and that readers would really connect with. I saw how popular psychological thrillers were and decided to write one myself!

 

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when the idea for your latest novel came to you?

My latest book is based on an idea that’s been drifting around in the back on my mind for years. I’ve always been interested in power imbalances, especially between women. I Know Your Secret is about a marriage counsellor and her client. Neither woman is exactly who they say they are and they both try to manipulate each other as the stakes get higher and higher.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantster and how long does it take you to write your thrillers?

I aspire to be a planner, but I can’t seem to stick to my outlines! I tend to know a few key scenes and the ending before I start and these usually stay the same throughout the drafting process. But no matter how much I plan the rest of the book, it all seems to change as the story evolves. 

My thrillers take about nine months to a year to write. I usually have a couple on the go at the same time.

 

Could you describe your typical writing day?

There’s no typical day! I’m looking after my young children a lot of the time, so I have to fit around them. When I have childcare I write the entire time without stopping. Otherwise I write when there’s the opportunity – so during nap time and evenings and weekends.

 

I’m sure my readers would love to hear about your road to publication. Was it long and winding or did you take a short cut?

It feels long, but I think that’s pretty typical! The most common characteristic amongst published writers seems to be resilience. My journey began way back in 2001, when I started writing my first novel but never finished it. Eleven years later I published 27: Six Friends, One Year. Following that I wrote four more novels and started many more, but just kept them on my hard drive. After my daughter was born in 2016, I decided to take my writing more seriously and I started writing The Mother’s Mistake, and I was very pleased when Bookouture acquired it the following year.  

 

Do you ever struggle to find inspiration?

Not at all – there’s inspiration absolutely everywhere, in every person and everything going on around us. I don’t struggle for ideas – I couldn’t write all the books in my head if I had all the time in the world. I do struggle to stay focused on one book at a time and not be tempted to start a new book whenever a new idea comes in.

 

Describe a typical publication day.

There’s always a lot of social media to do to let readers know the book’s out. I also make sure I take a bit of time to celebrate with a nice lunch with family and try to do something relaxing too like going for a walk or treating myself to a Thai massage.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

At the moment, I spend a lot of time with my young children, going out for walks and watching them delight in the simple pleasures of life.

 

Which writers in your genre inspire you?

There are so many brilliant writers in my genre. Recently I’ve really enjoyed books by Lisa Jewell, Tammy Cohen and Victoria Helen Stone.

 

Persuade my readers to buy your book in one sentence.

I think I’ll get someone else to do it for me! Here’s a quote from a review: “Completely unpredictable and a fantastic read from start to finish!”

 

What next for Ruth Heald?

I have another psychological thriller in the pipeline for release in February. It’s about a doomed wedding. I’ve just finished the first draft and I’m looking forward to the edits! 




Ruth Heald is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Mother's Mistake, The Woman Upstairs and I Know Your Secret.

Ruth studied Economics at Oxford University and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. She worked at the BBC for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with two children and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.


You can connect with Ruth on Twitter @RJ_Heald, or Facebook 

 

Amazon links to Ruth's books: 

I Know Your Secret

The Mother's Mistake

The Woman Upstairs


Thursday, 28 May 2020

My First Lockdown Publication Day!


Last week was a very exciting week for me! Why? Because on Wednesday, I celebrated the publication of my third psychological thriller, 'The Bride'. Although of course, because of lockdown, this publication day was very different to my others.

Contrary to what readers of your novels might think, most of an author's day after the book has gone 'live' isn't spent hanging around bookshops stroking your cover or sitting on the Richard and Judy couch (okay so that doesn't happen now but I still imagine it). Instead, it's spent on social media: posting the news, sharing other people's posts, re-tweeting and thanking all the lovely well-wishers who have taken the time to message you their congratulations. It's very tiring on the typing fingers and mentally challenging trying to keep up with it all as the last thing you want to do is offend anyone.

Flowers from my husband
What I've done in the past to manage my day, is allow myself time to meet up with friends at lunchtime. For the launch of What We Saw, I had a sneaky pub meal with writing buddy, Tracy Fells and for We Were Sisters, I had a beach walk with fellow Bookouture author, Liz Eeles.

I also had evening celebrations - a small one involving Prosecco with local friends for the first novel and a full-blown book launch at the local bookshop for the second. Both fabulous occasions.

There was nothing like that this year of course but I still managed to raise a glass of Prosecco to 'The Bride'. Instead of meeting in real life, my friends and I had a publication day Zoom celebration... almost as good! This was followed by another celebration with my husband and daughter.

Strangely, it was the most relaxing publication day I've had. Nothing to organise and only myself to please!

The following day, I did  something a little more out of my comfort zone. I was invited to be one of the authors at Noir at the Bar Edinburgh. Under normal circumstances, this would involve going to a real bar (I'm all for that!) and speaking to a real audience (not so happy about that!) but, with lockdown in place, it was going to be completely virtual.

I spent most of the day preparing. From the way I was behaving, you'd have thought that it was an all day event not just a ten minute slot but I hate being taken by surprise (it's why, when I was a teacher, I never liked supply teaching). Can you believe I worried about what to wear, what extract of my novel to read, what questions I might be asked and even which room in the house looked least like a hoarder live there (we've emptied my daughter's flat and her things are everywhere!).

By the time I got to speak, I could have done with a real bar, but as often is the case when you stress about things, the event was lovely. In fact, the host couldn't have been more welcoming, there were no trick questions and I didn't make a complete fool of myself thank goodness. If you like, you can watch it here.

So now all the fun and games are over and I've allowed myself to wind down a little. I've nearly completed the first draft of the next novel and am looking forward to working on it before submitting to my editor.

My fingers are crossed that come December I'll be able to have a proper launch for the next book but, in the meantime, the sun is shining, my roses are blooming and I'm feeling proud to have published three novels.

If you'd like to read The Bride, you can buy it here: Amazon